Facebook Donates $250,000 to University for Catching Spammers

Facebook recently donated a quarter of a million dollars to the Center for Information Assurance and Joint Forensics Research at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.  The donated funds were recovered from spammers by Facebook. The center had worked to identify and help stop the creators of the social media botnet Koobface as well as other malicious malware and spam.

The center uses resources from various government, commercial and law enforcement databases to identify and stop spam programmers and cyber criminals. They also collect over 1 million spam messages a day in their “spam data mine” to help catch these online crooks. The center is staffed by students who work closely with law enforcement to root out and identify spammers.

Cyberattacks are generally perpetrated by sophisticated networks, so we all realized that any successful effort to combat them would likewise require a specialized network that could compete with anything operating in the underworld,” Richard Marchase, interim president of UAB, said. “The center has already assembled an internationally respected team, and now Facebook’s generous contribution will help provide us with a state-of-the-art headquarters, positioning UAB at the vanguard of the global fight against cybercrime.”

The school plans to use Facebook’s grant to further bolster its technology and labs. They hope to turn the center into a kind of think tank and nerve center for cybercrime fighters. It’s a great case of private companies and individuals becoming fed up with an issue and being proactive in finding the solution. But what do you think the government’s role should be in catching cyber criminals? Should they leave it to private groups like this, or should they handle the lion’s share of the detective work?

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